You’re not “Nice”.

Everyone wants to be “nice”. Some people go as far as to say “I’m a nice person”, “be nice” and will affirm they are “nice” if you ask them whether they think they are. But it can be hard to pinpoint what they mean.

“Nice”, as per the dictionary, means “giving pleasure or satisfaction; pleasant or attractive”. There is no popular definition that denies this, there is no requirement to being “nice”, it is just “something pleasant”. This gives us a problem: you can’t decide whether you are nice. Only other people can decide whether or not you are nice.

If you call yourself “nice” you can mean only two things:

  1. You are pleasing to yourself, you approve of yourself. Which means nothing as all healthy humans, and many unhealthy ones, enjoy themselves and approve of their own behaviour.
  2. You seek to please others and be approved of, and believe your behaviour is pleasing and worthy of approval. Which means nothing as you don’t get to decide what other people enjoy.

And there are two motivations behind calling yourself “nice”, both of which can result in either of the two meanings.

  1. You are ignorant of what you are saying and responding to how you were educated. Your parents told you “be nice”, meaning “appease and please” and you did so. All you mean is “I want to make others happy” or “I’m doing what I think is right”.
  2. You know that niceness comes from others and you are demanding their approval or, in the case of “be nice”, that they should act as you want them to. What you mean is “you should agree with my morals” or “you should appreciate that I’m not actively hostile”.

Quite simply: you can aim to please others and garner approval, but you cannot make yourself “nice”. How nice you are is not up to you.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

As a side note, Twitter really has improved my succintness.

You’re Perfect… But Keep Going.

Dissatisfaction, always wanting the next thing up, is the human condition. So is a desire for perfection and an ego that, like glass, is apparently solid, totally transparent and shatters when hit hard enough. This much is self evident. You don’t need to look further than our consumerist culture and its quick spread to see these realities in action.

On the other hand, we are also wary of the extreme forms of either of these things. Excessive ego that is too solid troubles us, makes us question the egoist’s very humanity. A paper-thin ego makes us question their stability. Absolute perfectionism is seen as dangerous, the quest for the impossible. No drive to progress is understood to be a bane to society as much as to the individual.

And we often pair the extremes up a certain way. After all, the extreme egoist is often so proud, happy and comfortable that they stagnate. Their robust ego may be beneficial to them in terms of mental and emotional stability, but it creates the false impression that they have no work left to do. And the extreme perfectionist is often so focused, so obsessed, so needy that their ego wears thin. Their drive is beneficial in that they will often progress far beyond where anyone else could even imagine, but when they repeatedly fall short of their own standards their ego is wrecked.

However, I believe the best balance is actually not one of moderation, but a balance of the two more solid extremes. You need to be a perfectionist narcissist. This doesn’t really happen in nature. When your ego is that solid, you don’t want to carry on. When your standards are that high, your ego is hurt. But it can be encouraged and built through mindfulness.

You need to appreciate everything you do, admire everything you make, take pride in every achievement. You need to look at everything you are, physically, mentally, educationally, emotionally, and believe deep down that it is, brilliant, incredible, perfect.

But you also need to look at everything you make critically, analyze everything you do and move on from every milestone. You need to look at everything you could possibly become, physically, mentally, educationally, emotionally, and strive for it.

Push and pull. Push and pull. Until you’re sitting in the right place to carry on.

Depending on which way you already lean, you will need to work more on one than the other. Probably even depending on what you happen to be doing.

But whatever it is, when something is stressing you, getting you down, hurting you or annoying you, take action. Step back, analyze it, find what you need to fix, find what you can fix, find what you’re doing well and what you love. And then remind yourself…

“It’s perfect. But I have to keep going.”

 

TTFN and Happy Hunting.